Are you concerned about your risk of developing cancer that affects the mouth? According to Rush University Medical Center, head and neck cancer affects men twice as often as women. They also report that, while oral cancer usually occurs in those older than 50, its incidence has been increasing among individuals in their 20s and 30s. Kozica Dental provides our patients with oral cancer screenings designed to help detect this form of cancer as early as possible. Early detection and treatment of oral cancer are associated with improved patient outcomes.
What to Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening
During your regular dental visit, we examine your gums, tongue, inner cheeks, and soft tissue for indications of oral cancer. Unexplained sores or lesions, including bumps or red and white patches, could be associated with cancerous cell changes. These lesions may bleed or frequently recur after healing. Pain, tenderness, swelling, numbness, redness, and trouble chewing or swallowing can also indicate the presence of oral cancer.
Shining a special light in the mouth can help illuminate damaged tissue. In addition to the visual examination, we will gently feel along the inside of your mouth wearing gloves to detect lumps or bumps that require further investigation. If we notice anything disconcerting during your visit, we will swab the affected area and send the cells for a biopsy to determine whether they are cancerous.
Like many forms of cancer, healthy lifestyle changes may help prevent oral cancer from occurring, including:
- Quitting if you smoke or use smokeless tobacco
- Cutting down on alcohol to one drink a day if you are female or two drinks if you are male
- Wearing sunscreen whenever you spend time outdoors, including lip balm with SPF
- Keeping regular dental check-up appointments, ideally every six months or more often
- Brushing and flossing every day along with other preventive dental hygiene practices
- Eating a nutritious diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables along with whole grains, protein, and low-fat dairy products
- Getting vaccinated for HPV, since certain strains of this virus are associated with oral cancer
Kozica Dental is your source for high-quality dental care in Worcester, MA. Request an appointment and oral cancer screening today or call us to schedule your visit at (508) 755-0751.